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The admonition I run into again and again, attributed to such lights as Thelonius Monk and Louis Armstrong is "play the melody." Of course you will syncopate it, put a little ornamentation here and there, but simple is fine That covers soloing pretty well, but what about comping? Guitarists with jazz chops rarely hang on the same voicing for more than a ...


One golden rule. Play less. Lay out. Leave space. If there's someone in the group who CAN play jazz, allow him room to do it. And have fun! Let the music go where it will. Don't rehearse it to death. If it's your turn to play a solo, the melody will be just fine.


As the only chordal instrument, you and you alone can play chords under the soloist. However, full-blooded chords may work well in blues/rock and roll, but only sometimes in jazz. The occasional number will benefit from nice 5 or 6 string chords - maybe arpeggiated, but since the bassist will be rooting and fifthing to a degree, you can find the other notes ...


In addition to the good technical advice you're getting, I'd also suggest getting an idea of what your audience expects (e.g. my listening to past years' acts etc). "Jazz" covers a wide field, from wildly experimental collective improvisation to playing pop standards from 80 years ago, with some pretty solos added. "Downtown Jazz Festival" typically suggests ...


I was guitarist in a 3-person jazz combo, with bass and drums. I played a lot of melody and two-part harmony, with chords very occasionally thrown in. A good bass player will keep it interesting. To the extent that worked, a sax/bass/drums combo would also work. So in that light, consider yourself icing on the cake and...add flavor.

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